WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSYR-TV) — Dale Archer is with the World War I Centennial Commission.
“Washington, D.C. does not have a national World War I memorial,” Archer said. “And people are often surprised by that.”
But that’s about to change.
“We anticipate that we can break ground later this fall,” Archer said.
Archer and a team of architects, including Joe Weishaar, have designed a 60-foot bronze wall that will stretch across Pershing Park near the White House.
“The sculpture is going to blow people away. Absolutely,” Weishaar said.
Weishaar says the design includes 38 figures that show the journey of an American soldier leaving home, fighting in the war and returning home.
“We want to connect people to the stories of those who served in World War I,” Weishaar said.
Before construction can begin, the Commission must still raise $15 million, but Archer said the donations are flowing in. Earlier this month, the National Football League contributed $1 million.
Shawn Skelly with the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service says the memorial is long overdue.
“Every other major conflict we’ve been in is being and has been recognized at a national level,” said Skelly.
Skelly says the 4.7 million Americans that served in World War I deserve to be recognized like the rest of our nation’s heroes.
“The last U.S. veteran for World War I was Frank Buckles and he died asking Congress to have this memorial built,” said Archer.
Archer now says it’s up to us.
“Because if we allow them to be forgotten, then veterans in the future will be forgotten,” said Archer. “We need not ever to forget our veterans.”
The memorial is expected to be completed in November of 2021.